?Accountants and auditors are responsible for maintaining the fiscal health and integrity of a business, individual client, or government agency. To do this, they need to keep and maintain accurate records, ensure that taxes get paid properly and on time, analyze and communicate financial information, verify financial documents, make transfers of capital or income, and in some cases, provide financial and investment planning for their clients. The profession of accounting and auditing can be roughly broken down into four major categories: management accounting, government accounting, internal auditing, and public accounting. Management accountants record and analyze financial information of business enterprises. Government accountants and auditors maintain and examine the records of government agencies and they also audit private businesses and individuals whose activities are subject to government regulations. Internal auditors examine a corporation's internal processes for efficiency, effectiveness, and compliance with corporate policies and government regulations. Public accountants perform a wide variety of activities in the realms of accounting, auditing, tax, and consultation. Their clients may be corporations, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or individuals. Most accountants and auditors work in a typical office setting and usually work a standard 40-hour week. However, those who specialize in taxes often find themselves working long hours during the tax season. Education, Certification, Licensing The standard educational qualification for most careers in this field is a bachelor's degree in business, accounting, or a related area. However, those with a master's degree have a much higher level of opportunity. Many employers also look favorably on students with significant computer proficiency or work experience in jobs involving some type of number-crunching. Some universities and colleges are now offering specialty programs to prepare students to work in a specialized profession such as internal auditing. Any accountant who is required to file a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is required by law to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Many accountants and auditors choose to obtain this valued certification anyway. In order to earn this certification, an accountant must pass the four-part national CPA exam and must also meet the other requirements of the state where he/she chooses to practice (CPAs are licensed by their State Board of Accountancy). As of 2007, 42 states and the District of Columbia required CPA candidates to complete 150 semester hours of college coursework, which entails an additional 30 hours beyond the typical four-year bachelor's degree. Several other states have adopted similar legislation that will become effective before 2009. Prospective accounting majors should carefully research requirements of any states in which they hope to become licensed. Most licenses must be renewed periodically and nearly all states require CPAs to complete a certain number of hours of continuing professional education before their licenses can be renewed. This article on accountant and auditor training and careers has been provided courtesy of City Town Info.
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